Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. This Chinese proverb is meant to shed light on the philosophy of charity to prevent poverty. It teaches us that teaching a man a trade is a better way of providing help because he learns to earn an honest livelihood instead of him holding out his hand to charity always.
In Oruchinga Refugee Settlement, formerly a VSLA, a group of 55 (F=38,M=17) refugees and nationals were effecting this proverb directly in their lives to improve their livelihoods in the camp when they started a fish farming group as a way of increasing their household incomes and learning new skills.
The fish farming project is under the UNDP livelihoods program run by HIJRA where 5 fish cages were installed in Lake Rwamurunga, Oruchinga. HIJRA supported the communities with training sessions on fish cages management, supporting POC’S with fish feeds and recently facilitated a visit to Kajjansi National Fisheries Research Centre in November 2017. The purpose of this visit was to avail the farmers with more information on better methods of fish farming like fish transfers, fingerling feeding, proper care and identification for sick fish and fish harvesting technologies as a way of enabling them better their trade.
“I have learnt a lot since I joined the group when we were still a VSLA. That is when I knew saving was a good practice. Now, I can proudly say I am a fish farmer because of all the training I have received from HIJRA, “Mzeeyi Micheal, a group member said. “Since we started fishing in January, I have been able to solve my money problems at home, educate my children and I have made new friends in the process, he added.
Another member who is a Rwandan refugee stated, “With all these new skills I have learnt, I’m confident that I can recreate something similar when I return home in the future and I also start earning money.”
As a group, they plan on supporting other VSLA groups on fish farming and any other activities as a way of countering poverty from the grass root level within the camp. They also plan on building their own fish cages.